Speed Unfettered: Best of the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014
The racing world is still recovering from the pounding speed hangover left by this weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed. Its pain is your gain, as this year's festival was filled to its artistic arch with ultra-fast supercars, racing personalities, legendary vintage cars, dirt-spewing rally cars and futuristic virtual concept cars.
Welcome, Mercedes style
Not to be outdone by Porsche and its rocketing 911s from the 2013 Festival of Speed, this year's sponsor Mercedes-Benz decorated the 2014 event with an arch that could have made St. Louis jealous. The span stretched its way over the Goodwood House, carrying with it Mercedes' first and latest eight-cylinder Silver Arrows Grand Prix race cars. A replica of the 1934 Mercedes-Benz W 25 Silver Arrow and a 2013 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W04 held still above the lawn as if making their own individual leaps over the manor.
"It is a tremendous opportunity to be asked by Mercedes-Benz to create a sculpture to celebrate their 120 years of motor racing," said artist Gerry Judah. "For this we have pushed the limits of what is possible with size and complexity in engineering, with a 160- tonne steel arch connecting two of their great historic cars over the top of Goodwood House."
Video game or reality?
One of the interesting themes at this year's festival was the blurring between the worlds of video game racing and real racing. Both Nissan and Aston Martin debuted brand-new race cars aimed exclusively at the pixelated tracks of Gran Turismo 6. The virtual/reality theme continued to the Hillclimb, where gamer-turned-driver Jann Mardenborough set a supercar Hillclimb record of 49.27 seconds. Behind the wheel of a Nissan GTR-NISMO "Time Attack," Mardenborough narrowly beat out Anthony Reid and his Noble M600 in the Michelin Supercar run.
Mardenborough developed his racing chops playing Gran Turismo, eventually taking home a win in the 2011 GT Academy, sponsored by Nissan and Sony. That competition boosted him into the world of professional race car driving, where he's raced for Nissan in a number of events, including this year's Le Mans 24 Hours.
Sebastian Loeb becomes Festival's speediest
Last year, Sebastian Loeb drove the 208 T16 Pikes Peak to an eye-popping Pikes Peak record time of 8:13.878, more than a minute and a half faster than the previous record. That stirred quite a buzz ahead of his run in the 2014 Goodwood event. With crowd whispers about a potential fastest Hillclimb ever fresh in his ears, Loeb pushed the 208 T16 to a time of 44.6 seconds. It left him three seconds behind Nick Heidfeld's 1999 record, but proved enough for the best time of the 2014 Festival of Speed.
It's worth noting that Gregory Gilvert drove the same car to a first-place 45.86-second time at last year's Goodwood event, tying with none other than Nick Heidfeld.
100 years of Maserati
Maserati plans a big 100th anniversary bash later this year, but that didn't stop it from celebrating a little early. Goodwood's Stable Yard played host to the brand's "largest ever display of cars past and present". The display bridged the past, present and future, with notable cars like the Tipo 26M, the all new Alfieri concept, and the 250F, winner of the 1957 F1 world championship.
The most special part about the Festival of Speed is the sheer amount of incredible automotive hardware on hand – from exotic sports cars, to race cars, to motorcycles and beyond. Our photo gallery gives you as full a tour as you'll get without attending in person.